Solar power is great—or at least it should be great—in case the power goes out. But in the U.S. that’s largely not the case. For instance during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 New York city had 672 solar arrays. They weren’t too damaged but they couldn’t supply critically needed in the outage aftermath. Now the state has more than 18,000 solar electric systems.
Most solar photovoltaic systems are tied to the grid and the home, business or feeder line they provide power for in such a way that they must be turned off if the whole grid goes down. Otherwise they can cause harm to rescue workers, utility workers and the people who rely on the system and any electrical equipment. It doesn’t have to be that way.
“The DOE-funded NYSolar Smart Distributed Generation (DG) Hub—Resilient Solar Project will help further Governor Cuomo’s energy priorities to increase clean, local power generation to take pressure off the grid, help solar installations operate during grid outages and make electricity more affordable for all New Yorkers,” said John B. Rhodes, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) president.
The City University of New York (CUNY) doesn’t think so anyway. Last week it won an $800,000 SunShot Solar Market Pathways award to support development of resilient solar electric system—systems that can keep providing power during larger system blackouts. Such systems could island themselves from the larger grid and still supply clean energy where and when it’s needed.
The award supports the NYSolar Smart Distributed Generation (DG) Hub—Resilient Solar Project, which is also supported by the State’s NY-Sun initiative and with New York City funds. The three-year project will create a roadmap for the integration and tracking of resilient solar systems, conduct analysis for deploying resilient solar electric systems on designated critical infrastructure facilities and provide a calculator for public use, according to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.
“We know that climate change is an existential threat to New York City and our planet—and we need to prepare for its risks, while reducing our contributions to its causes,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The Smart DG Hub is another big step toward a more sustainable, more resilient New York, supporting clean energy that can be used when we need it most. CUNY’s role is key as New York City sets the pace with our sweeping green buildings plan and commitment to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and we look forward to continuing to work with partners like the U.S. Department of Energy and the State.”
With support from the New York Power Authority (NYPA), NYSERDA, CUNY and a private foundation, the solar resiliency project has raised almost $1.2 million in funds.Tweet